DES MOINES —
Even after escaping the jam to get to extra innings and getting a lead-off double by Jake Hogan to start the eighth, Don Bosco’s troubles didn’t stop there. Hogan was thrown out at third on a failed sacrifice bunt sliding off the bag to end the Dons chances of bringing home the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the eighth, even after a fifth error was erased by a pickoff of Brandon Plecker, the Dons couldn’t stop the unraveling. Another error allowed Mertens to reach second with one out before a Saunders single and fielder’s choice loaded the bases for Barker.
Perhaps fittingly, after a comedy of errors got them back in the game, Van Buren took advantage of one more miscue by Don Bosco. Barker took a ball off his sleeve to earn a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch that brought Mertens home with the first winning run in the history of the Warriors baseball program, earning 25-5 Van Buren a date with No. 3 Van Meter (34-8) in the 1A semifinals at Principal Park at 2 p.m. Thursday while sending Don Bosco home for the year at 28-7.
“To be honest, it didn’t even hit me. It only nicked my shirt,” Barker said. “I don’t even know what I was thinking at that point. I was so jacked.”
“It was insane. I’ve never been through a game like this.”
STATE BASEBALL TOURNAMENT
CLASS 1A QUARTERFINALS
Van Buren 6, No. 4 Don Bosco 5 (8)
Don Bosco 200 003 00 — 5 10 7
Van Buren 200 000 31 — 6 7 1
Don Bosco battery — Tyler Backes (2IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 4K, 6BB) and Travis Havel (L, 7-2) (5 1/3IP, 5H, 4R, K, HBP), Tyler Metcalf catching.
2B — Backes, Jake Hogan, Metcalf.
3B — Backes.
Hits — Alex Bagby 3-4, Backes 2-3, Hogan 2-4, Spencer Bruess 1-4, Metcalf 1-4, Dylan Rhoads 1-4.
RBI — Backes, Bagby, Hogan.
Runs — Backes 2, Bagby, Hogan, Rhoads.
Van Buren battery — Tyson Sprouse (5 2/3IP, 8H, 5R, 3ER, 2K) and Robby Laughlin (W, 4-1) (2 1/3IP, 2H, BB), Noah Whitten catching.
2B — Robert Barker, Garrett Saunders.
Hits — Whitten 2-2, Barker 2-3, Saunders 2-4, Laughlin 1-4.
RBI — Barker 3, Saunders, Sprouse.
Runs — Will Mertens 2, Saunders 2, Austin Fett, Laughlin.